Hi Manny, The past week or so I;ve been having a lot of trouble with my playing. The week before everything was going great, and my playing felt comfortable and my breathing was working. Cut to now: my chops feel wrecked - I have a horrible feeling I'm piling on the pressure, which makes me look at my breathing: I feel tight around the chest, and my breathing is not comfortable and relaxed. This seems to often happen to me when I don't have a lesson for a few weeks (my next one is this Friday). My playing is suffering across the board. My generally good sound is gone: I sound weak, and not resonating properly, with fuzz and smeariness (know what I mean?) My range is the thing that's suffering the most - I'm having to work hard to get above the stave, and I normally have a comfortable D. I got very frustrated working on the Goedicke concert etude yesterday (normally a breeze for me), and I started to get a double buzz - I know that was the result of forcing the air through and abdominal tightness, but I've no idea WHY that's happening now. This is pretty scary for me, not to mention very frustrating: it seems whenever I start making progress, I often get a setback like this. I tried taking a day off, because I think I over did it at a bigband rehearsal last weekend, but I still don't feel good with my breathing, and my lips feel swollen and inside I can see they're a bit cut up. I saw HÃ¥kan Hardenberger doing the PMDavies concerto last night, and woke up excited to get my horn out of the case and practice, but I feel like I'm treading water at best. Arggggh! Jack.